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Keeping a Pure Mind

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2021 4:00 am

Keeping a Pure Mind

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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June 11, 2021 4:00 am

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If we are going to have a peaceful life. If we are going to have a tranquil life. If we're going to enjoy happiness and fulfillment were going to have the kind of joy that causes our heart to rejoice and gives us the freedom to serve God gladly and happily and without constraint. Then we have to have a clear conscience. You might never let a day go by without studying God's word. There may be a long and commendable list of things you'd never actually do what about the things you think about doing how are you at controlling your thoughts. That aspect of your life where compromise is easier.

That's John MacArthur's focus today on grace to you in a message called keeping up your mind whether you found yourself battling jealousy, lost bitterness, whatever it is, I urge you to be honest with yourself and take a hard look at the hidden sins that could be hindering your relationship with Christ and with others and with that years John turn if you will. The second Corinthians chapter 1. Let me just read verse 12 to you to set the context for discussion of this matter of conscience. Paul writes for our proud confidence is this the testimony of our conscience, but in holiness and godly sincerity not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. You remember that the apostle Paul was being assaulted as to his integrity as to his righteousness as to his authority as to his credibility as to his effectiveness. He was being attacked on every front and in defense of himself.

He appeals to the highest court, the highest court that is on earth apart from God himself is conscience. He doesn't ask for the testimony of some other men to come to his aid.

He doesn't ask for some group to write a letter of commendation. He simply says this. Whatever you may be saying our proud confidence. Is this the testimony of our conscience and his conscience was affirming that he was holy and he was godly he was sincere. Conduct himself properly in the grace of God in the world and toward the Corinthians. Conscience then is the highest court on earth. Conscience is the soul's warning system is conscience.

According to Romans 215, which either accuses us or excuses us. That is, it either affirms us as being good and righteous and holy are it indicts us as being evil and sinful and wicked and frankly conscience is the best critic because it knows the innermost secrets of our heart. Nobody else does, except for God.

If we are going to have a peaceful life. If we are going to have a tranquil life as Paul call it a quiet and peaceable life.

If we're going to enjoy happiness and fulfillment were going to have the kind of joy that causes our heart to rejoice and gives us the freedom to serve God gladly and happily and without constraint.

Then we have to have a clear conscience that should be really the desire and the goal of every believer to be able to say what Paul said, you can bring all the accusation against me you want with the proud testimony of my consciences that I am living in holiness and godly sincerity.

We want to experience that kind of affirmation from our conscience and that's challenging because sin pervades us all of our inmost being not want to go little bit deeper into this because I'm very concerned about it for for all of our lives and I want to just ask a few questions this morning and try to answer them so we can dig a little deeper into this. The first question is what is sin. Let's get some kind of a clear idea of what sin is sin. According to Scripture, is first John three for the transgression of the law.

That is to say, sin is any violation of God's law. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness is the new American Standard, and that savers and sin is lawlessness is a violation of God's law. Any lack of conformity to the perfect moral standard of God is sin. Now the central demand of God's laws is what is the first commandment love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength right and the second is like unto it. Love your neighbor as yourself.

So the epitome of all sin is to violate those to the epitome of all sin, then, is to fail to love God. That is the primary violation and it shows up when that John 16 says that the Lord can send the Holy Spirit and he will convict the world of sin. What is the sin of sin, because they believe not on me. In other words that's the that's the partner to loving, not the Lord is loving, not the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why first Corinthians 1622 says if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let them be damned. So the ultimate sin, the epitome of sin dissemination of sin is lack of love for God. Lack of love for Christ that is the epitome of all sin.

That is the summation of all sinfulness the carnal mind. Romans 87 again is not subject to the law of God, and it can't be so an unregenerate person cannot keep the law of God and therefore he sends an sins and sins and sends in the compelling sin.

The leads the parade is lack of love for God. Lack of love for Christ and along with the attendant love herself, which manifests pride, our natural hatred of the law is such that even knowing what the law demands does nothing but stir up more disobedience wasn't what Paul wrote, the sinful passions are aroused by the law. I would not have come to know sin except through the law I would not have known about coveting if the law had not said, you shall not covet, but sin, taking opportunity through the commandment produced in becoming of every kind.

Romans 757 Paul says that I read about a sin and then I knew what it was and then I saw myself doing it rather than the law of God helping me to defeats in the law of God, just arouse sin, the more sins I learned about the more things my heart the desire to commit such as the sinners penchant for sin that the more he learns about God's law, the more he sins the law is not going to help them. The largest going to excite sin. In fact, Romans one, verse 32, says I suppose the sum of it all, even though they know the law of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but they give hearty approval to those who practice them. They know the law of God, and they know it leads to death, but they do it anyway and they applaud the others who do it. Amazing now. Our entire culture today reflects this passion for sin. We live in a culture where the passion is now legitimate.

In some cultures, it isn't. And so there are social restraints on it, but not in hours.

Our entire culture reflects this passionate love for sin and nobody wants to seem to hinder it.

People love their sin and they will go to extreme ends to justify and rationalize. And as long as they do that they damn themselves right because if you don't define the disease properly. You never going to come to the proper cure.

You can't come to salvation. Unless you understand sin. Obviously, then, this kind of thinking is deadly and damning to those who are deceived by it, but it is also true and this is where I want to move this moment we don't have much time left. This kind of thinking.

This is what concerns me this kind of thinking has invaded the thinking of Christian hats. Christians are casualties to the cultures redefinition of human behavior. Churches are churches which I once would not tell it tolerate adultery and fornication, homosexuality and lying and cheating and whatever other kinds of thing are tolerant of it.

Now that now churches that once would want to confront sin don't confront it anymore. We've all fallen into the psychological gameplaying of self-esteem and ego building. This is this is typical in all the movements of the Christian churches and in every church, but it certainly it certainly where the thrust is and if you speak against it. You're really anathema. We have allowed the world to redefine God's moral law, and even to redefine God's character and make him more tolerant of sin, then he is constant exposure then to the word of God is essential. I'll tell you folks in a time like this. What churches need more than they need anything else, is the constant exposure to God's divine standard what people desperately need constant exposure to the word of God which is the only thing listen to this.

That's going to keep you sensitive to the divine morality week after week after week as you are assaulted by the other stuff when we need that so desperately to keep our sensitivity to God's standard and the true holiness and true purity churches are jettisoning that in favor of entertaining their people. It's an amazing time in which we live now.

I want to ask a second question will see how far we get what sin is the most serious we know what sin is, it is any violation of the law of God and were never going to be sensitive to sin unless we are constantly made sensitive to the law of God, and to do that to the teaching of the word. But let's go a little deeper. What is the most serious sin. What sin is most serious and I'll tell you what the answer is that medieval theologians had it right. It's the sins of the mind it's the sins of the mind of many people who won't do evil deeds.

But nevertheless boldly evil in their thoughts. They won't act out evil things because there's peer pressure and there are compelling reasons not to, but they are very involved in evil in their minds, a man who, for example of stains from fornication for fear of getting caught might convince himself that it's all right to indulge in his own mind and salacious fantasies because he thinks no one will ever discover such a private sin. The fact of the matter is the sin he deliberately entertains in his mind may be a thousand times more evil than anything he would ever think of doing before others.

Scripture says his guilt is the same before God as if he acted it out.

That's why his conscience is so demanding, so relentless, what should be going on in our minds what should be going on in the deepest recesses of our minds and hearts what should be happening there. I'll tell you what worship and love to God worship and love to God when we were saved. We were saved to be true worshipers.

The Lord saved us in order that we might be made true worshipers listen to this to sin in the mind then is to desecrate the very sanctuary where our highest and best worship should be taking place so cultivating sins of the mind not only defiles the mind, but it displaces worship for which we were saved there again. It can be defined as a form of blasphemy relatively easy sometimes to confess and forsake deeds of sin. Words of sin, but the sins of our thought life go unconfessed.

More than any other kind. They are the sole blackening sins.

They are the character damaging sins. They work directly against the conscience and there is the conscience fighting with all it's worth. Against this onslaught sway the Old Testament says in Proverbs 423 watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. But you know, beyond conscience, I have to say that God knows our hearts X50 Nate says God knows our hearts.

First John 320 says God is greater than our heart knows all things. David wrote thou dost understand my thoughts from afar and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. It so God knows whether we have a lusting coveting angry, hostile, selfish, proud heart that is cultivating all of those sins of thought or whether or not our heart is given over to worship to him. John 4421 says, would not God find this out, for he knows the secrets of the heart.

Jesus told the Pharisees in Luke 1615. You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of member. God knows your hearts that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God and you know something what's going on in your heart is the litmus test of your character.

Proverbs 23 seven as he thinks within himself, so is he. Proverbs 612. A worthless person a wicked man is the one who with perversity in his heart, devises evil continually want to know what you really are. Take a look at your heart. Take a look at the inside for as in water face reflects face so the heart of man reflects man Proverbs 2719. External behavior is not an accurate gauge of your character. Thoughts of your heart reveal the truth. The thoughts of your heart only known to God and your conscience and beloved. It is so crucial that we cultivate a pure life so that we can enjoy the testimony of a clear conscience and you know that that the longer you learn the word and the more you are exposed to the word and the more your heart is filled with its truth, the greater will be your your love and your worship toward God and the cleansing of that is going to affect clear conscience. I honestly don't know how men can possibly feed their thought life filth and foul things and obscenities and wicked things and things with that which displays God and stand and minister without literally being assaulted by their conscience. Job's comforters remember them.

They came to him and they falsely accused him and there wasn't anything in his life. They could accuse him of right.

Remember, Job is more righteous than the other man's wedding accuse him of detail what they accuse him of a of a dirty thought life so far came and said to him, Job 20 verses 12 and 13.

Evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he desires it and will not let it go. He holds it in his mouth. In other words is really wicked on the inside.

You don't see it. You don't hear it buddies all foul on the inside picture he painted of the evil thinkers vividly true evil thoughts are like candy to them to the evil thinker. They derive great satisfaction from their imaginary iniquities. They savor their evil fantasies.

They relish them like a choice morsel of sweetness under their tongue. They roll around in their imagination. They return to the same wicked musings from which they can glean illicit pleasure over and over again, they mull them over like an animal chewing the cut bringing up the favorite evil thoughts. Time and time again to react to new in the mind. This is what they accused Job of so far misjudged Job. Job carefully guarded himself against that is what he said in Job 31 one. I have made a covenant with my eyes. How then could I gaze at a virgin. I don't do anything I don't look in any direction that's going to cultivate an evil thought he knew God was the audience to his thoughts but he says this does you not see my ways. A number all my steps if I have walked with falsehood in my foot has hastened after deceit.

Let him weigh me with accurate scales and let God know my integrity and then Job denied that his heart had followed his eyes. He denied that his heart is been enticed by another woman that would be a lustful crime.

He says in iniquity be punished to be punished by judges to hide iniquity in the bosom, he said, would be to cover one's transgression like Adam. The very thought of Paul is righteous heart, while Job was very aware of the danger of sinful thoughts.

You consciously deliberately set a guard on his heart to avoid such things then you know what else he did even offers a sacrifice to God, just in case his children send in their hearts when the days of feasting had completed their cycle that Job would send and consecrate them rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.

This Job did continually concerned not only about his own thought. Like with the thought life of his own family. That's why the Lord said there's no one like him on the earth. He's a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. So this whole matter of sins of thought has to be dealt with before going to deal with the conscience if are going to liberate our conscience and enjoy peace and joy, happiness and bliss in Christian experience. If you want to quiet your noisy concert you got a deal with your thought life. Well, maybe I better just quickly finish in two minutes. There are three ways the mind engages in sin. I'll just mention a minister since it remembering first to cherish the memory of sins past to bring back a lurid memory of a bygone sin is to repeat the sin all over again.

I'll tell you I grieved when I know that young impressionable people in their teenage years are going to go sit in a movie theater and watch people who are 18 feet high in vivid drama carrying out sexual activities, and assume that those images may remain in the minds of those young people forever. At least in this life.

You can't get out of. You can't dismiss them, and Satan can cycle you back through those in your flesh as well can do that. This isn't unique to sexual sins.

Some people love to rehearse the memories of the time they got angry and poured out vengeance on somebody they resented or the time they lied and got away with it or they relish the time they cheated on their income tax all kinds of temptations come from memory. Satan will try to take you back through the garbage of your past and once you implant a lurid image in your mind, you can't take it away. It's there. So one way we sit in the mind is through remembering sin in the past.

Secondly, sins of scheming mind like we saw in James begins to lust and it spins its desire into the imagination and develops the full fantasy and its schemes and plots and plans the presumptuous premeditate of sin and then it becomes the third kind imaginary sin scheming could actually end in a real action of sin, but there are sins of imagining purely imaginary sin, committing adultery in the heart murdering in the heart coveting in the heart being discontent with what you have with your place in life. Daydreaming about being married to someone else musing about a luxury that you want in your life, indulging gluttony in an imaginary binge. Literally millions of people live in this kind of fantasy of sin. And you know what I believe you have this theology, a positive confession.

I believe for the most part it's nothing but fantasy sinning is not godly, it is not virtuous and it is not faith to say I want a new Rolls-Royce or a new Cadillac or new house or a better job or more money, and I'm going to believe God for that is not a righteous act of faith. It is in iniquity is a fantasy sin is the last is covetousness, and so the mind can sin by remembering by scheming for sins in the future and by developing imagination psalmist said created me a clean, what heart, O God, so that he could have a clear conscience was bound for the lawyer heads are bad miss closing moment me just have you listen to what I say and then will close in prayer.

How you deal with the problem of sins of thought first confess it, identify it and forsake it whether it's immorality or anger, vengeance or bitterness, or covetousness, discontent. Secondly, refuse to entertain that thought make a covenant with the Lord to think on things that are honorable, and right and pure and lovely and good then feed on the word, which when hit in the heart prevents sin and then avoid evil attractions don't expose yourself to things that provoke sins of thought and then cultivate the love of God is my prayer.

My desire for you that you will glorify God, you will honor your Savior. You will enjoy the blessing the triumphant bliss of a clear conscience and that you will be able to say with Paul our proud confidence. Is this the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity we've conducted ourselves in the world.

What a test. Father worked at in every heart cleanse every heart. Thank you that forgiveness is available and it's not just a feeling it's a fact given to one who asks for if we confess you forgive create in us a clean heart, O God, for Christ's name disease, grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John's been the pastor of Grace Community Church since 1969. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and is titled today's lesson. Keeping up your mind John is you wrapped up your message and that quick list you gave of practical steps for dealing with sins in the mind you exhorted us to feed on the word you said when we hide it in her heart that prevents sin. So talk about the specifics of that process.

How does taking in God's word translate into sinning less well it's a simple principle. The Bible says as a man thinks in his heart so is he your product of your thoughts and whatever dominate your thoughts, is what shows up in your behavior. That's why James says sin conceives in the heart and it is conceived in the heart and then it shows up in the action so that's Paul's encouragement. In Philippians 48. Is that whatever is pure and true and good, think on these things. So when the word of God saturate your mind when your thoughts are scriptural thoughts. The spirit of God brings those thoughts to your mind that becomes a barrier to sin.

You can't.

You can't get very far into some temptation before your conscience is reacting to divine truth which is buried deep in your heart truth from the word of God and your conscience is calling a halt to what you're doing, telling you to stop.

That's the function of the word of God hidden in your heart, sound doctrine, the conscience reacts to that then becomes a warning system so how do you do that how do you get the word in your heart. Well, I would suggest if you don't have a copy of the MacArthur study Bible, you need to get one.

It includes not only the full text of the Bible, but 25,000 footnotes on every page. Below the Scripture text you're going to find an explanation of that text so you know what it means explaining everything with all the backgrounds, culture, geography, everything you need to know the notes. Don't force a doctrinal system on to you, but they tell you what the Bible says and what it means and that shapes your doctrine it's it's an important thing to have a tool like this on your own.

It brings Bible reading to life so you can choose a new American Standard translation which I use new King James English standard version ESV prices on many items including the MacArthur study Bible are currently reduced 25%. The sale ends next Friday, June 18. Take advantage of our reduced prices. Order now the MacArthur study Bible can help anyone get more out of their personal devotions. It also makes a great gift to get a copy or if you contact us today. Again, the MacArthur study Bible is 25% off the regular price and as John said it comes in the English standard new King James and new American Standard versions of Scripture that you can get it in softcover, hardcover, leather or premium goatskin to find one that's right for you. Call 855 grace or order online at TTY.also, while you're online.

Remember, you can download any of John's 3500 sermons, including today's free in MP3 or transcript format.

You can also download the grace to you at. It gives you access to any of John's sermons wherever you take your smart phone and make sure to check out the grace to you blog every week.

John and the staff write about some of the most discussed issues in the church today.

All of that and more is now for John MacArthur and the staff.

I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday then be here next week when John answers questions that you probably have about homosexuality and the Bible. That's the title of the study launches on Monday be here for that. It's 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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